Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Electronic Tattoos

Tattoos have been around since the early BC and are still being practiced in several cultures around the world. There are professional, amateur, and cosmetic tattoos. Tattoos have become part of fashion in both sexes, in all economic classes, and to all age groups. In 2011, the Barbie doll was even sold having tattoos. Now we can add one more to the category… electronic tattoos!

The University of Pennsylvania researchers are developing LED tattoos. The silicon-and-silk implantable devices sit under the skin like tattoos but do not last forever. These LED tattoos are already implanted into mice with the silk keeping them in place, molding to the shape of the mice skin and turning it into a screen. Since they mold to the skin they can move elastically with the body. These “tattoos” eventually dissolve away inside the body leaving the electronics behind. The LED tattoos are around the length of a small grain of rice. The idea for these LED tattoos is to be hooked up to any electronic device including the inside of the body. You will be able to sensor blood-sugars and show their readouts on the skin itself. If this kind of ‘tattoo” can be hooked up to the nervous system it may be able to control a prosthetic limb.
Electronic tattoos could be used to prevent or monitor functions in real-time. These devices could detect brainwave activity and respond to the electrical abnormalities. These electronic tattoos would be useful for premature babies, could monitor them noninvasive and would be mechanically invisible. These devices can be used to diagnose or provide care to any type of patient. Possibilities could be endless. 

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